Prosecutors attempt to block Xbox mod-chip defense

Prosecutors attempt to block Xbox mod-chip defense.

[newsimage][/newsimage]On November 30th Matthew Crippin of Anaheim, CA will be heading to court to defend charges that he ran an illegal business installing mod chips in Xbox 360 consoles. On Crippin’s side and willing to testify on his behalf is Andrew Huang, the man who literally wrote the book on hacking the Xbox. 

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The court won’t block this. Courts are part of the government, and the government today is all about control. The only way we will ever get rid of controls like DRM and DCMA is to stop buying the products that use them. But unfortunately, it seems most people would rather give up their liberties than give up their music or video games. It’s sort of a sad state of affairs.

Hacking consoles might provide an unfair advantage over non hacked consoles. A person could modify a game (like a wall hack, or god mode) and have an unfair advantage over non hacked systems. These type of mods could literally kill the market for consoles and games. The classic example of a game being killed over hacks would be Counter Strike for PC, with in a month the popular game was basically dead and was considered a cheating joke. Not even the PC version of cheat mod detection ‘Punkbuster’ could totally stop the cheating hacks.

At what point do game manufactures stop investing in new game technology because of low profits due to piracy and cheating? I would rather see awesome new games hit the market because of high profits due to DRM protections, than see cheaply produced (old graphics engine) games being over used due to low profits because of piracy and cheating.

The PC platform protections are easily defeated, making games for it is a risky investment. Because of the lack of protections and the high cost of enforcing it, game manufactures realized the massive profitability of consoles games because of DRM protections. It is easier to make games for a console, the consoles have a bigger user base, and the consoles provide a secure DRM protection that allows manufactures to protect their investments.

The only way a PC manufacture can afford to protect their investment of a game is to make it a ‘pay per month usage’. There has to be continued income for a manufacture to detect and enforce ‘a level play field’. The best example of a successful PC game using the ‘pay per month’ scheme would be Blizzard’s WOW. The other type of game protection enforcement is Punk Buster, but even that protection is easily defeated. Open Source games like Unreal depend on a large user base, and depend on the Servers to enforce fair play.

Damned if there is protections, and damned if there is not any!

Even with the controls in place to provide ‘fair’ online play, there are tons of ‘glitchers’ out there who take advantage of problems with the maps to gain an unfair advantage over other players. People are always going to want to cheat because of serious ethos flaws in our society.

The fact of the matter is that this is not a good reason to limit what a consumer can and can not do to hardware that they own. Period.

What is to stop someone with considerable electrical engineering skills to reverse engineer an xbox or PS3 or whatever and build a mock copy that would completely fool the Microsoft servers when it was attached to the network? Nothing really, and the technological hurdle of this keeps most normal consumers from doing this thing. What they are really afraid of is the smart engineers making products that ‘normal’ consumers can buy that lets them jump over this hurdle. Companies like Microsoft, Nintendo, and Sony are banking on this hurdle.

The funny thing is, in reality, those consumers willing to modify their hardware are a very small percentage even when given full access to such tools. So why fight this so hard? Seems to me that it will eat up their profits going to court over such matters.

If they are trying to stop the pirate trade in other countries by coming down on regular consumers (who already gave them money) their efforts are misguided. The pirates never had any intention to purchase anything from them to begin with. They will not stop piracy by this method. All it does is harm and alienate your paying customers who wanted to do more with the thing they bought than the company gave them credit for.